Bias Resource and Response Team (BRRT)

In Spring 2020, the Divisions of Academic and Student Affairs partnered to reconvene a campus wide Bias Resource and Response Team (BRRT). A version of the group has existed at the college since early 2000. In it's current framework, the BRRT develops proactive strategies and response protocols that support a positive campus climate for students, faculty, and staff.

 

Bias Resource and Response Team Members

 

  • Sierra Bonerb, Associate Director of Support Services Griff Center for Student Success

  • Sheila Pettigrew, Senior Assistant Director of Career Development & Interim Title IX Coordinator

  • Eileen Herbert, Chief Communications Officer, Marketing & Communications

  • Dr. Jennifer Lodi-Smith, Associate Vice President for Acadadmic Affairs & Associate Professor, Psychology

  • Bennie Williams, Assistant Dean of Students & Director of Multicultural Student Center

  • Mark Piatkowski, Associate Director for Student Life

  • Fatima Rodriguez Johnson, Associate Dean for Diversity & Inclusion (Co-Chair)

  • Samantha Martucci, Center for International Education and Graduate Student Representative

  • Jeannette Delaney, Sr. Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions

  • Kimberly Beaty, Director of Public Safety

  • Dr. Anita Butera, Asst. Professor of Criminal Justice

  • Freddy Watson, Resident Hall Director and Graduate Student Representative

  • Dr. Aimee Larson, Director of Physician Assistant Program

  • Anaya Dono, Unity Student Representative

  • Dr. Jonathan Lawrence, Assoc. Professor, Religious Studies & Theology

  • Jodel Woods, Housekeeping & Facilities Manager

  • John Tychinski, Chartwells Dining Services Representative

  • TBA, ALANA Student Center Representative

  • TBA, Global Horizons Student Representative

  • Linda Walleshauser, Associate Vice President for Human Resources


2020-2021 Bias Resource and Response Team Report

Members: Sierra Bonerb, Director-Support Services, Griff Center; Kathleen Farley, Associate Dean of Students & Title IX; Eileen Herbert, Chief Communication Officer, Marketing & Communications; Dr.  Jennifer Lodi-Smith, Interim Associate Vice President, Academic Affairs;  Mark Piatkowski, Associate Director, Student Life; Fatima Rodriguez Johnson, Associate Dean, Diversity & Inclusion; Alexis Browning, USA Student Representative; Jeannette Delaney, Admissions Office; Erika Seagren, Athletics Department; Cliff-Simon Vital, Hall Director; Kimberly Beaty, Campus Safety; John Tychinski, Dining Services;  Anita Butera, Asst. Professor-Criminal Justice; Aimee Larson, Director of Physician Assistant Program; Jonathan Lawrence, Assoc. Professor-Religious Studies/Theology; Jodel Woods, House Keeping/Facilities Manager; Keith Powers, Unity Student Representative; and Linda Walleshauser, AVP Human Resources; Bennie Williams, ALANA Student Center

Introduction:

In the spring of 2020, the divisions of academic and student affairs convened the Bias Resource and Response Team (BRRT) at Canisius College. The purpose of the BRRT is to develop proactive strategies that support a positive campus climate.   Throughout the 2020-21 academic year, the BRRT was convened to create opportunities for education, dialogue, and interaction among students, staff, and faculty.  Local and national events called for the implementation of a number of campus resources.  In partnership with the community, the BRRT sponsored walk-in hours in person and virtually, shared articles, websites and discussion guides for staff and faculty, and supported reflection activities. 

Supporting a Positive Campus Climate

The 18 member team (including 1 graduate and 2 undergraduate students) engaged in a semester of training that included identifying and addressing bias incidents, Title IX, student conduct, and trauma informed practices.  In addition, each member had access to the SUNY online training center.  Also, the office of human resources provided a review and update on the campus anti-discrimination and harassment policy and procedures.  The BRRT also offered recommendations and assisted with the revisions to the community standards and worked with members of the institution to create protocols for responding to incidents on campus. 

The BRRT collaborated with a variety of campus offices to host community gatherings, which included the 2020 Election Day Watch Party, prayer vigils in partnership with Campus Ministry, reflection spaces in campus lounge areas and over Zoom, and open office hours were held in the ALANA Student Center. In addition to providing physical and virtual community spaces to gather, the BRRT also provided recommendations to the senior leadership on educational resources to share with the campus following local and national news impacting various identity groups. The members of the BRRT also individually volunteered to serve as points of contact, in the event that students preferred to connect with one-on-one support networks.

In addition to programming and support resources provided to the campus community, the BRRT also accomplished the following objectives for the year:

  • Updates to bias report form in myCanisius to include definitions and links to college policy
  • Collaborated with Human Resources, Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, and the Office of Student Life to enhance report protocols
  • Worked with student life to include language surrounding bias, bias-motivated and hate-motivated misconduct, racially motivated incidents, and microaggressions in the community standards
  • Information on the BRRT and its process was included in the training for resident assistants
  • Presented to the ABEC department in the spring semester

Reports of Bias 2020-2021 (process completed as of 6/1/2021)

This academic year,  BRRT received nine (9) reports of bias, over 40% of the reports received identified sexual orientation and gender identity as the targeted identity.  Approximately, 20% of the reports identified nationality as the targeted identity.  The remaining reports identified race, religion, and ability as the targeted identities. 

1 Report submitted by Student Life

  •  Incident:         Microaggressive comment to international student
  •  Type of Bias:    Nationality
  •  Outcome:        Educational Conversation

2 Reports submitted by Student Life

  • Incident:          Offensive language written on whiteboards in residence halls
  • Type of Bias:   Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity
  • Outcome:        Mandatory floor meeting held with residents

1 Report emailed directly to VP for Student Affairs

  • Incident:          Physical Harassment
  • Type of Bias:   Sexual Orientation, Gender Orientation
  • Outcome:        Referred to Student Conduct

1 Report submitted by Student Life

  • Incident:          Targeting by resident assistant
  • Type of Bias:   Race
  • Outcome:        No policy violation, facilitated meeting with resident assistant and student

1 Report referred by VP for Student Affairs

  • Incident:          Offensive post by student on social media
  • Type of Bias:   Nationality
  • Outcome:        No policy violation, Educational Conversation

1 Report phoned in directly to Title IX Coordinator/Co-chair of BRRT

  • Incident:          Verbal assault or harassment by a faculty member
  • Type of Bias:   Ability
  • Outcome:        Referred to Human Resources

1 Report emailed directly to AVP for Human Resources (by student)

  • Incident:          Derogatory comments made by student in class
  • Type of Bias:    Gender
  • Outcome:        Referred to Title IX

1 Report verbally shared to Co-chairs directly

  • Incident:          Offensive Visual/Graffiti
  • Type of Bias:   Religion, Ethnicity 
  • Outcome:        Documented and graffiti removed by facilities management

Conclusion and Next Steps

The BRRT has identified priorities for the 2021-2022 academic year, which include continuing to support the building community and sense of belonging series, developing a campus wide education campaign, offering workshops to academic departments and classes, and implementing one community topic forum each semester. 

Campus Policies

Bias Reporting Options

Should you wish to make a Bias Report, you can choose to complete the online report form available in myCanisius, leave a message on the Bias Hotline 716-888-BIAS(2427), or contact the BRRT Co-Chairs directly. To access the Bias Report Form in myCanisius, please click on the link below. Please note: The link may require you to log-in to myCanisius, however the log-in is not associated with the form. Individuals have the option to report anonymously.